Victims of natural disasters can benefit from donations now and in the future
If you are like many people, your heart breaks when you see the people who are suffering from natural disasters, whether it is earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, or disease epidemics. If you are lucky enough to be safe, you may be wondering how you can help those who are affected.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is always hard at work trying to deliver aid and supplies to the victims of natural disasters throughout our country. Their website offers advice on good ways to donate that truly make a difference. Here is some advice from FEMA:
1. Donating money is the #1 way to help
With any kind of disaster, money is usually the #1 thing that is needed by those “on the ground” helping with the disaster. If you are able to donate money—even small amounts—this can be a great way to help. You may want to look into local organizations that need money right at the site of the disasters. Or alternatively, you can donate to large international relief organizations that are trained to respond to disasters across the globe, such as the American Red Cross, Save the Children, or UNICEF. When you donate, you can look up the organization on Charity Navigator to make sure it is a legitimate organization that is working on disaster relief.
2. Pool together with your friends and coworkers
If you feel that you can’t donate money yourself, perhaps you can organize others to pitch in. Talk to your friends and coworkers about donating. If everyone donates just a little, the impact can be great. By encouraging others to give, you will make a difference!
3. Organize a community or school fundraiser
If you belong to a community organization like a place of worship or a community center, talk to the leaders about how you can hold a fundraiser. Consider a bake sale, yard sale, a concert event, or another fundraising activity. Schools are also a great place to hold a fundraiser. Talk with your child’s principal or PTO president to see what the options might be.
4. Consider donating blood
Depending on the nature of the disaster, there can be a need for donated blood. Contact the American Red Cross to see if blood is needed, and if you can, consider donating.
5. See if volunteers are needed
Depending on how close you live to the affected area, you may be able to help by volunteering with a disaster relief organization that is stationed there. But do not simply show up on your own. You might just get in the way! Instead, contact the relief organization first, and see if there is any way you can help. You may or may not have the skills they need, and if you don’t have the right skills, don’t be offended. They are just trying to help the area in the most efficient way possible.
6. Don’t forget about the victims when the press coverage ends
Natural disasters tend to attract a lot of media attention in the immediate aftermath, but then the news cycles move on to something else—long before the affected communities have recovered. Consider becoming a regular donor to disaster relief organizations, so that they can continue to support people who are still rebuilding. It’s best not to restrict your donation to a certain disaster; this way the organization can use the money where it is needed most.
7. An important note about donating supplies:
Donation drives can be a very generous thing to do. Sometimes disaster areas have a great need for canned foods, bottled water, and donated clothing. But before you organize one, be sure to talk to the local organizations first to be sure they need items and what specific items they need. Disaster zones cannot always accept donations, and the donated goods can actually get in the way of progress. If that is the case, choose another way to help.
We hope this list has helped you understand how you can best help those who are affected by natural disasters. It’s a wonderful and generous thing to do!